Let our journalists help you make sense of the noise: Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily newsletter and get a recap of news that matters.


The “Party of No” reactionaries are pretty annoying.  The “centrist” Democrats are pretty annoying.  But sometimes I wonder if the “reasonable conservatives” are even worse.  After providing us with four reasons to support the Senate healthcare bill and six reasons to oppose it, David Brooks ends with this today:

So what’s my verdict? I have to confess, I flip-flop week to week and day to day. It’s a guess. Does this put us on a path toward the real reform, or does it head us down a valley in which real reform will be less likely?

If I were a senator forced to vote today, I’d vote no. If you pass a health care bill without systemic incentives reform, you set up a political vortex in which the few good parts of the bill will get stripped out and the expensive and wasteful parts will be entrenched.

I wonder.  Does Brooks really flip-flop every day on this?  If he does, then by an amazing coincidence, every single moderate conservative has done the exact same thing and come to the exact same conclusion: a sort of sad declaration that although reforming healthcare is a noble idea, the current legislation on offer is just too compromised, too full of barnacles and bribes, too lacking in real reform to deserve support.

And the same thing is true of climate legislation.  And financial regulatory reform.  And stimulus spending.  It’s amazing!  They all have fine goals, but in their current form none is worth supporting.  They’re just too messy.

But look: these guys all know how the political system works.  Nothing ever comes through Congress pure and pristine.  “Systemic incentives for reform,” as Brooks well knows, is just another way of saying “ways to push costs down.”  And plans to reduce costs are all going to be demagogued endlessly and cynically by every conservative officeholder and pundit in the country, leaving Democrats with no choice but to water them down, pretend they’re something else, or just plain run away from them.

So we end up with a sausage.  We always end up with a sausage.  Brooks knows this.  So if that’s his excuse for not supporting healthcare reform, he’s just blowing smoke.  He knew months ago what the basic Democratic plan was, and he knew months ago that anything this big would end up compromised and messy.  Pretending now that this is why he opposes it really grates.  If he just doesn’t like liberal ideas about healthcare reform, he should have the guts to come out and say so directly.

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. It's our first time asking for an outpouring of support since screams of FAKE NEWS and so much of what Trump stood for made everything we do so visceral. Like most newsrooms, we face incredibly hard budget realities, and it's unnerving needing to raise big money when traffic is down.

So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

IT'S NOT THAT WE'RE SCREWED WITHOUT TRUMP:

"It's that we're screwed with or without him if we can't show the public that what we do matters for the long term," writes Mother Jones CEO Monika Bauerlein as she kicks off our drive to raise $350,000 in donations from readers by July 17.

This is a big one for us. So, as we ask you to consider supporting our team's journalism, we thought we'd slow down and check in about where Mother Jones is and where we're going after the chaotic last several years. This comparatively slow moment is also an urgent one for Mother Jones: You can read more in "Slow News Is Good News," and if you're able to, please support our team's hard-hitting journalism and help us reach our big $350,000 goal with a donation today.

payment methods

We Recommend

Latest

Sign up for our free newsletter

Subscribe to the Mother Jones Daily to have our top stories delivered directly to your inbox.

Get our award-winning magazine

Save big on a full year of investigations, ideas, and insights.

Subscribe

Support our journalism

Help Mother Jones' reporters dig deep with a tax-deductible donation.

Donate